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Monthly Archives: May 2022
Best practices for avoiding overdraft fees
An overdraft occurs when there are insufficient funds in an account. If you make a purchase with your debit card and there’s not enough money in your account, your financial institution may charge you an overdraft fee. Depending on the fee, this could become an expensive scenario. We’ve compiled a list of best practices for avoiding overdraft fees.
Be aware of your account balance
Checking your account weekly (or more often) is a good habit to form. By checking your accounts frequently, you’re aware of the funds available in your account and how much you have left to spend. It allows you to monitor for any suspicious transactions. You can check your Georgia’s Own account balances 24/7 via online banking, our mobile app, or TeleTalk.
Set up alerts for low balances
Balance notification is a handy feature that lets you set up personal notifications when your checking account drops below a certain amount. This will give you a heads up to hold off on further transactions until you can add funds. With a Georgia’s Own account, you can choose to be notified via text or email.
Link your account to another account
Mistakes happen—whether it’s an accounting error or a temporary shortage of funds, overdraft services are designed to provide a backup for those moments. You can link another Georgia’s Own account to cover the shortage when there is not enough cash in your account. The fee with this option is much smaller than the cost of a returned check.
Set up direct deposit
Setting up direct deposit means that your paycheck is automatically deposited into your account. This can prevent check holds or a delay in deposit. It ensures you get access to your money faster and can help prevent an overdraft. Some financial institutions even offer early access to your money. Our Perks+ Checking account features Early Direct Deposit, allowing you to receive your direct deposit funds up to two days earlier* than traditional banks—which can make or break whether your account overdrafts.
Weigh the pros and cons of opting in for overdraft protection**
Pros of opting in for overdraft protection
When you opt in for overdraft protection, your transaction will not be declined—but you will normally be charged a fee. Overdraft protection is helpful in the event of an emergency, and it can save you from embarrassment at the gas station or drive-thru. If you overdraft, make a deposit as soon as possible after the overdraft occurs to avoid additional charges. If it’s your first overdraft, contact your financial institution. In many cases, they may consider waiving the fee if it is a first-time offense.
Cons of opting in of overdraft protection
By opting in for overdraft protection, you still need to pay whatever fee your financial institution charges. If you don’t have overdraft protection or enough funds available in your linked account, your purchase is declined. Some people might also view overdraft protection as an opportunity to overspend because they may not understand the fees involved. Overdraft protection policies vary by financial institution, so be sure you understand your financial institution’s rules and whether or not overdraft protection is right for you.
Want more information on overdraft protection, direct deposit, online banking, or setting up balance notifications? Visit georgiasown.org!
*Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date. Click here for FAQs.
**Overdraft Services is available to members 18 and over who are in good standing with the Credit Union. We may approve certain transactions that overdraw your account. An overdraft fee of thirty-three ($35.00) dollars may be charged for each transaction that overdraws your account. The categories or types of transactions that may overdraw your account include payments, purchases, and transfers. Whether your overdrafts will be paid or not is in our sole discretion and we reserve the right not to pay the overdraft. For example, we typically do not pay overdrafts if your account is not in good standing or if you have too many overdrafts. We reserve the right to require you to repay your overdrafts immediately or on demand. Read full Overdraft Disclosure.
Saving money with cellphones: how to get the best deal
Cellphones: we love them, we hate them, we can’t live without them. Choosing a new phone or carrier is about as fun as a trip to the dentist after you spend time haggling over price points and service levels. But soon that will all be a distant memory, because we have some great ideas on ways you can get the best deal for your cellphone—frustration and screaming are now totally optional.
Purchase an older cellphone model
We’d all love to have the latest iPhone, but have you ever compared the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 13? The truth is, they aren’t all that different. You can certainly expect some small changes from model to model, and even more so when those models are years apart. But since so many companies are churning out new models every year, you can go with an older option that doesn’t sacrifice function. That means you can safely choose the Galaxy 20 without worrying that it will be obsolete in minutes—and that means you can save a little money right up front.
Consider the auto-payment plan
Did you know that a lot of mobile carriers offer auto-payments that are often less money per month? This is a great way to get savings that stay around for a while. Ask your carrier what switching to automatic payments would do for your monthly bill. Of course, it’s important to remember when the payment will hit your bank account so you can budget accordingly. But with just a small amount of extra planning, you can reap the benefits of lower costs without giving up great service.
Don’t just look at big names
While there is nothing wrong with the bigger cellphone competitors of the world, you might consider looking at a smaller company that can meet your needs, like Cricket Wireless or Republic Wireless. These companies are usually able to offer you a better deal, both on your phone and your service costs. It’s important to note that lower costs mean you may not always have the service you want—not all companies have equal coverage. But if you just need the basics for your daily life, these lesser-known providers can be a game-changer.
Split it up
Many cellphone companies offer discounts for multiple lines. If you are single or your kids aren’t old enough for a phone, this may seem like a silly idea. But splitting a plan with even just one or two more people could make a big difference in your monthly bill. Talk to your extended family or some close friends about the types of phones and service you all need—if you can make it work, it’s worth the time and effort of adding multiple lines to one plan and splitting the cost between you.
Switch it up, too
We know; change is the worst. But a lot of cellphone companies offer discounts for switching to their service, which means you can cash-in just by changing your carrier. While hopping back and forth between different providers may seem like a confusing way to live, it may also make a huge difference to your bottom line each month. Be smart about it—you want to ensure that your potential new carrier can still meet all of your needs, like service areas and data streaming. But if you find a good deal that works for you, we recommend making the switch.
Say goodbye to your old cellphone
You can bring that final bill cost down even further by turning in your old phone to the same people who sell you your new one. This is a win-win—cell phone companies can resell your old phone, and you get a better deal on a new phone. Don’t worry about your contacts, photos, and even your messages and apps, because your cell phone provider should be able to port those right over to your new phone. You don’t lose anything but a little bit of time for the transfer, and, of course, your outdated phone.
Much like buying a car, purchasing a new phone or service is all about the negotiation. Often team members of cellphone providers have a little wiggle room on what deals they can offer you, so be sure to ask for the lowest rate they have. This might mean you name an outrageously low rate that they can’t meet but that they can work towards with you. Do be wary of scams—if the deal sounds way too good to be true, it probably is, so read all of the fine print and take your time before signing your contract.
Look for special discounts
While we’re on the negotiation train, this is a great time to mention discounts that may apply to your unique situation. People who serve or who have served in the military, for instance, may be entitled to discounts that others can’t ask for. Your job might also get you some discount points, because first responders, teachers, and others can often find discounts with various providers. If you’re not sure, ask—the worst that happens is you are told no to a discount, but the best that happens is you do qualify and now get to enjoy a lighter cellphone bill each month.
The possibilities for cellphones and service providers may seem endless, but you can find a method that works for the madness. Figure out what you need from your cellphone, look for the best deals and special discounts, and remember that a smartphone that’s only two years old is still pretty smart.
With all that money you saved, it’s important to have a place to store that cash. A savings account with Georgia’s Own is a smart, secure way to store your hard-earned money. From basic savings accounts to CDs and money market accounts, there’s no shortage of ways to make your money grow. Click here to open a savings account today!